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Ravenheart Reviews: Archived

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ELESSAR...'DARK DESIRES'

(Self Released) Reviewed 30th October 2013

Elessar come from Argentina and recently in my snail mail box dropped their very recent cd 'Dark Desires'. And you know what?, this is damn good. I am not sure whether it is just me, but all the music that is coming my way of late is just so good. Elessar is fronted by the awesome soprano vocals of Alejandra Barro, and I suppose the first point of reference to their music would be Tarja era Nightwish, although having said that, the music is most certainly Elessar, they are no clones by any means. The music has a progressive undercurrent running through it at times, this comes to the fore on thumping tracks like the Power Metalish 'The Lonely Warrior'. 'Heroes Born Dead' is another track that flirts with Power Metal territory and is a highly melodic number too. 'Puppet Girl' is a bouncy song also featuring the clean vocals of guitarist Howen Rava and this record is turning out to be a very good effort. Then there is the Power Ballad 'My Soul My Life' - massive! The title track hammers along rather nicely as does the following number 'Your Own Being'. The album closes with an acoustic bonus track 'Para ver el Sol', sung in the band's native toungue. I want to say that all round, this album is a very good band effort, with every member giving it their all. Their FaceBook page can be found here... well recommended for fans of Progressive Power Metal and Symphonic Metal - 9/10 (Dave)

ELFERYA...'THE STRAIGHT AND NARROW'

(Suisa) Reviewed 8th December 2012

Elferya from Lausaane in Switzerland were formed in 2008, releasing a demo EP Afterlife in 2010. Like Illuminata from across the border in Austria, Elferya's début offering sounded like it was recorded in a wheely bin on a mobile phone, which nearly put me off totally, but as with Illuminata's 'A World So Cold', this first album proper sounds fantastic, so if you’ve run to the Alps after hearing their EP, come back!!!! The other thing I must mention is the superb artwork and band photos both in the album artwork and promo material, I am fed up with ‘arty’ photos that are either so small you need a microscope, or are so dark that you can’t see a thing, that’s if you get any photos, Elferya show you how it should be done, it's nice to put a face to music and an important part of the creative image that sets the scene. Returning to the music itself, their Celtic infused true symphonic metal hovers between Mother Earth era Within Temptation, Lyriel, modern Nightwish and Silent Opera, with Claire-Lyse's voice also hovering between semi-operatic and operatic, and she often duets or counterpoints the two styles. The wonderful intro 'Once Upon a Time' builds appropriately into the first song 'Fairytale', setting the stage for an album of rollicking frolicking romantic romps that stray from the straight and narrow as they weave their way up humongous hills and down delightful dales in each each action packed adventure. Every song is so feature packed it's very difficult to pick out faves, they create a continuous tapestry that carries you though to the magical closer 'Awakening'. If push comes to shove, I would pick the afore mentioned 'Fairytale', the soaring 'Butterfly, the incendiary 'Burning Desire', the thunderous and conversely named 'The Silence of the Night', and the folky instrumental 'Mystic Lands'. This is a bewitching album of Celtic symphonic metal that is a joy to behold, beautifully crafted, performed, produced and packaged, so venture to their splendid website
here, a fairytale 9/10 (Phil)

ELFERYA...'EDEN'S FALL'

(Self Release) Reviewed 25th September 2015

Elferya come from Switzerland and like their fellow countrymen November 7, are a totally awesome band. This release is their 2nd full length following their debut cd 'The Straight And Narrow'. Fronted by new vocalist Melody Dylem, Elferya throw at the listener 11 tracks of melodic Gothic/Symphonic Metal offering a great variety of stonking tunes. The title tracks opens proceedings being an instrumental, and if second track in 'With All My Love' did not get you in the mood, the epic and melodic 'Elferya' (this track taking its name after the band), will surely do just that! There are further highlights galore on this cd, just listen to numbers like the massive sounding 'Cruel Night', the Folk Metal of 'The Dreamcatcher', the more laid back folkiness of 'Alone With You', and the metallic and pounding ‘Metal Hearts‘. And let us not forget the closing tune, the beautiful ballad 'Close Your Eyes'. It is albums like this that got me into this style of music in the first place....totally majestic, great vocals, great musicianship and well worth the purchase money as a consequence - an album that will make waves of tsunami proportions within the genre I am sure!!... 9/10 (Dave)

ELIS..'GRIEFSHIRE'

(Napalm Records) Reviewed 3rd November 2006

I am very familiar with this band. We at Ravenheart were also very upset when leading lady Sabine Dunser, passed away just after she had recorded her vocal parts for this cd. No doubt, a very talented lady taken from this world far too soon. Without getting too emotional, this album is an awesome slab of mature melodic gothic metal, with aggressive riffs and some mid and fast paced songs, coupled with some heart rendering ballads. It is Sabine's 'baby', and that is why the band decided to complete and release the album in her honour. The tracks on 'Griefshire' form part of a concept album that tells the story of two brothers, their religious fanaticism, their search for salvation, and their longing for eternal truth and love. The band also use classical arrangements in the form of strings, harps and choirs. So 'Griefshire' has it all. It is a very good Gothic Metal album by a band I have admired for a while now. Just check out the tracks 'Show Me The Way' and 'How Long' as proof of the pudding. Tell you what...check them all out..go buy the album!! RIP Sabine! We love you!! 9/10 (Reviewed by Dave)

ELIS..'SHOW ME THE WAY'

(Napalm Records) Reviewed 22nd November 2007

This 5 track EP offers the last set of material sung by the late Sabine Dunser, whose untimely death last year saddened the world of gothic metal. This is material left over from the 'Griefshire' sessions, the last to include Sabine's angelic vocals. The band though are carrying on, and Sabine's place is taken by Sandra Schleret. And there are 2 re-workings of 'Show Me The Way', originally from 'Griefshire' on this EP, ably sung I hasten to add by the new front lady. But it is the tracks featuring the late Sabine that shine here. They may have been left overs from those aforementioned 'Griefshire' sessions, but they are little gems in their own right. I have always liked Elis from album number one, and I am not ashamed to say that Sabine's cruel death emotionally saddened me! She has been singing with the Angels for well over a year now. God bless you Sabine. 8/10 (Reviewed by Dave).

ELIS..'CATHARSIS'

(Napalm Records) Reviewed 13th October 2009

I am and have always been a fan of Elis and the tragedy involving Sabine Dunser (1977-2006) knocked me for six to be quite honest. Anyway, life must go on and the band have picked themselves up quite admirably, and have recruited Sandra Schleret to fill the shoes of the late Sabine. The new record 'Catharsis' is a very good effort from the band, and indeed seems to have a kinda heavier quality about it. I am also a sucker for melody and Elis can provide that too. Furthermore, I so happen to be a fan of UK 80s pop/rock artist Jennifer Rush, and there is a cool cover of a song Jennifer Rush had a hit with here in Europe (and South Africa) in 1987, 'I Come Undone'. This given the Elis treatment, and very good it is too. This album gets released towards the end of November and it so happens to be a must buy for fans of the genre. There will also be a limited edition digi-pak inc 2 bonus tracks, and a dvd featuring Elis at the Female Voices Fest 2007. Napalm Records have hit the nail on the head again, and this record deserves to be massive! 9/10 (Reviewed by Dave)

ELITANIA...'TEMPLOS de CRISTAL'

(Self Release) Reviewed 25th September 2015

This band may be from Mexico, but if you start an album with bagpipes, then you have our attention for sure. Basically, this is an album of Symphonic Metal. There are four vocalists too: Yesenia Jacobo - (Soprano), Carla H. Orozco - (Mezzosoprano), Cristobal Basulto - (Barítono), Rafael Molina - (Tenor), and it all gels together rather well. Sung in Spanish, this release is rather Kool. Opener and the title track showcases the vocal capabilities of the band, while second up 'Donde las Sirenas Cantan' is an up tempo melodic corker, again featuring their stunning array of vocalists. Third track 'Desde mi Ayer' is a rather nice ballad as is 'Agnus Dei', I am not familiar with Spanish but I am sure there is a meaning within the lyrics of these awesome tunes. There are other good uns here like the epic sounding ‘Dragon de Medea‘, and the 100% epic closer and 16 minute plus ‘Ultimo Aliento’, a mini EP in its own right. I must say that this is an album that sure does mix the Symphonic (more so vocally) with the Metal (listen to the track ‘Pluton‘) and pull it off rather marvellously. Released earlier this year, this is yet another record that is well worth checking out! An appealing release..9/10 (The Nugget)

KERRY ELLIS..'ANTHEMS'

(Decca) Reviewed 9th January 2011

Kelly Ellis is a stage actress and singer who's been in loads of famous musicals. Her début solo album would not normally flutter the flag flying above the turret here at Ravenheart Towers, but, and it's a big but, it is produced and performed by none other than Brian May, you know, that guitarist chap with the big frizzy hair with Queen. This has Brian's stamp all over it, his signature guitar tone, the massive sound, Queen choirs, and full orchestra. What would normally be mawkish pop pap in other hands is taken well and truly into the rock arena. Added to that Kelly could easily pass for Freddie's daughter, her phrasing at times is quite uncanny. If Queen want a replacement for Paul Rodgers, then they need look no further, and her voice is far more suited for the job. The songs fall into three types, those written specially by Brian, reworked Queen numbers and Kerry's faves from shows, plus a couple of old chestnuts. Opening original track 'Dangerland' is a massive eastern tinged symphonic rock number that wouldn't look out of place on the next Nightwish opus. You then get huge power ballads like 'Anthem' (from 'Chess', live video on Female Voices blog), melodic rock tunes such as 'Defying Gravity' (from 'Wicked'), and Kerry makes mincemeat out of 'Diamonds Are Forever'. Even The Feeling's weedy 'I Love It When You Call' gets turned into a Queen song. It would have been good to have had a few more Brian May originals, especially on the evidence of 'Dangerland', and it really doesn’t sit comfortably in any particular market, falling somewhere between Michael Ball and Meat Loaf, which is probably why it's struggled in the charts despite heavy promotion and Brian's name. However, this is still a top quality album that hangs together surprisingly well, a genre defying 8.5/10 (Phil)

ELVELLON...'SPELLBOUND' EP

(Self Released) reviewed 22nd May 2015

Elvellon is a Symphonic Metal band from Moers, North Rhine-Westphalia in Germany. Through a combination of orchestral sound, hard riffs and the extraordinary voice of front woman Nele, the five musicians hit right at the heart of the listener with the five tracks on this very good EP. The standard of music being thrown at us here at Ravenheart at the moment is rather awesome to say the least, and this EP is of no exception. All the cuts here are gems, the tracks 'My Wings' and 'Oraculum' being favourites, so quite simply, if you are into Symphonic Metal, then get it - check their bandcamp site here ... 9/10 (The Nugget)

ELYOSE...'THEOGYNE'

(Self Release) Reviewed 8th December 2012

Parisians Elyose were founded in 2009 by classical singer Justine Daaé and bassist Ghislain Henry to create bouncing catchy electro metal in the same sort of ballpark as Skeptical Minds, I:Scintilla, Xe-none and Blood Stained Child. However there are no growls (apart from a short burst in the darker 'Wine from the Sick') and Justine's lyrical voice and the use of the romantic French language gives them a unique, distinctive sound. The thumping drums and grooving riffage makes you wanna pogo around the dance floor, while you are caressed by Justine's seductive voice and dreamy synths and orchestral sounds. Each number contains loads of variations from pounding to soothing so you will not be carried off on a stretcher, and if you want to sit a few songs out, there's lots of great sounds and super musical hooks to enjoy. The guitar sound can make or break an album, here Antoine Bouchet has a superb soft deep fuzzy tone, all part of the most excellent production. A brief intro leads into the first tune ' Le Libérateur' which gets this non-stop party going, fave raves include the symphonic 'L'orientale' with its terrific string hook, the deep down and dirty 'Incandescence', the highly charged joint jumping 'Overload', and the Liv Moon esque swinger 'Je Tempeste'. Elyose deliver exactly what they promise, music for the head and feet that’s guaranteed to keep you thoroughly entertained. Strut your funky stuff to their Facebook, a entrancing dancing 8.5/10 (Phil)

ELYOSE...'IPSO FACTO'

(Season of Mist) Reviewed 7th July 2015

Here is a rather good French band, their musical repertoire consisting of what we would call Industrial/Gothic Metal. Fronted at the mic stand by the rather awesome vocals of Justine Daaé , there are eleven tracks here of the previously mentioned Gothic Metal with Industrial influences thrown into the melting pot. And this is good bouncy stuff on this their 2nd full length, with some pounding catchy tunes such as 'De Guerre Lasse' and 'Chronocide' to annoy your neighbours when played loud :) The album thunders along as a whole rather nicely thank you without any soppy ballads, although final track 'Contretemps' does slow it down a bit introducing a bluesy feel. The album is well recommended... 8.75/10 (Rachel Louise Smith)

ELYRIA...S/T EP

(Self Release) Reviewed 28th November 2013

OOOhhhh!! I rather like this. Elyria founded in 2012 hail from Germany and play a style of Melodic Prog Metal with slight parallels to Nightwish, Within Temptation and even Stream of Passion. The project was originally an experiment by Oliver Weislogel (Stormwitch, Dorian Opera) and vocalist/song writer Patricia Cooney, the final result now producing an EP of five catchy but progressive songs to capture the listener's attention. 'Salome' gets proceedings underway, a heavy melodic pounding number with a progressive undercurrent, and showcasing the rather nice vocal style of Patricia that compliments the music very well. I would think this song would go down a treat live! Second up 'The Vigil' takes on a rather more progressive stance while the heavy and awesome 'Faceless' is the longest track on the Ep at a little over six minutes. The progressive and complex 'Colours Of Silence' and 'Only Words' close the EP - the latter starting with an awesome haunting choral support and ends what is a rather stellar effort from the band. Check out their website: http://www.elyria.eu/ - recommended.. 8.5/10 (Dave)

ELYSION..'SILENT SCREAM'

(Massacre Records) Reviewed 6th November 2009

Here we have a dose of in yer face catchy melodic gothic metal, that will sure please all fans of Evanescence and Lacuna Coil to name just two. And that means it is right up my alleyway aswell. Greek Band Elysion were formed in 2006 by guitarist Johnny Zero and soon picked up the attention of Massacre Records. Fronted by Christianna, I must say I am enjoying this release, and it will be there for everybody else to enjoy from the 18th December. 'Dreamer' gets things going and yep, I can tell right away I am gonna like this. Soooo catchy! 'Killing My Dreams' (great keys and guitar solo) keeps the momentum going and I am in wonderland. Super stuff indeed. I have always liked my rock music catchy and melodic, that is possibly why I list bands like Bon Jovi, Gotthard and Danger Danger amongst many other melodic hard rock acts, as my faves! Every track on this little gem is a winner and will appeal to many with it's inoffensive style of catchy melodic gothic rock/metal. Just check out the awesome ballads, 'Weakness In Your Eyes' and 'Bleeding'- superb vocal displays from Christianna. 'Another fave track is the pounding 'Loss'. 'Silent Scream' is a MUST buy to my ears, and is one of the best albums I have heard this year within it's genre. Get it on Dec 18th!! 9.5/10 (Reviewed by Dave)

ELYSION...'KILLING MY DREAMS' Digital only EP

(Massacre Records) Reviewed 23rd October 2012

Elysion is a fave band of mine hailing from Greece. There must be a reason for the label to be releasing this EP, as it features by and large tracks from their debut album that was released three years ago now. These 8 tracks here in various formats, acoustic, live etc. I have been in contact with the band, and there is still some left over recording to do regards a new album, but meanwhile, let's all enjoy this EP. I would however say that this digital only release would appeal mainly to fans of the band, and if there are people out there reading this that are unfamiliar with Elysion, may I suggest first purchasing the band's album 'Silent Scream', as the perfect introduction to this awesome Greek combo. This digital release will appear 16th November, but I myself cannot wait for any new stuff to appear! ... 7.75/10 (Dave)

ELYSION...'SOMEPLACE BETTER'

(Massacre Records) Reviewed 3rd January 2014

I reviewed the debut Elysion full length album back in November 2009 (doesn't time fly?) and to be honest, it was right up my alleyway..catchy inoffensive Melodic Gothic Metal of the highest calibre, full of radio friendly songs. Now at the start of 2014, I am reviewing their latest opus, and this strictly speaking carries on where their previous effort left off. A further assault of hideously catchy songs that will leave you screaming for more when the album finishes. - Produced by Mark Adrian at ARTemis Studios in Athens, Greece with the mix by Dan Certa (We Are The Fallen, Ben Moody, Kelly Clarkson, Seether), this is simply a massive release. I will not even bother to name individual tracks in detail, but if songs like 'Fairytale' and 'What Lies Beneath' don't send you into raptures, then boy, you have a problem! Let us also not forget 'The Promise', a total belter of a power ballad and the string led acoustic feel of 'Transparent'! Christianna's Pop/Rock vocal style I hasten to add is perfect for this style of music, ably backed up by an awesome band of musicians too. This is one helluva release to kick off 2014, and it will hit the shelves 24th January. A very early contender for my top five of 2014 - has to be! 9.75/10 (Dave)

EMBASSY OF SILENCE..'EUPHORIALIGHT'

(Supernova) Reviewed 20th May 2010

Embassy of Silence were born in 2007 as a coalition between dynamic singer Ines Lukkanen and the band Saattue, with Dotma’s keys player Harri Koskela soon jumping on board. Far from being a side project, EOS have taken on a life of their own and their ambition is demonstrated by the sheer time and effort put into this debut album, this is no demo recorded in someone’s bathroom, but sounds for all the world like a major label release. The foundations are a mix of Delain and Lacuna Coil, upon which they build their own identity, walls of warm fuzzy guitars, atmospheric keys, a hint of prog, a variety of tones and pallets, soaring melodies, a touch of melodrama, and Ines’s awesome voice, a mix of Charlotte Wessels, Cristina Scabbia and Carol King. Ines announces ‘let me suck the poison from your wound’, cripes!, and then we’re off into the maelstrom of the opening two numbers, ‘Soul-Broken’ and ‘I Ride Alone’, both dramatic, groovy and with those changes of pace that are their trademark. ‘Passion and Savagery’ takes it down a touch with it’s lovely reflective opening before the band crank it up, there is more than a little Pink Floyd in their music, and Tero Kalliomäki contributes some superb guitar solos. The creepy gothic melodrama ‘Baron Samedi’ shows their quirky side as it suddenly breaks into some spooky reggae like something out of the Adams Family; they really know how to mix it up to tremendous effect. ‘Absinthe Eyes, Opium Words’ (fantastic title) and ‘Deadline Playtime’ combine their softer side with powerful riffage to wonderful effect. Next up are a couple of gripping thrillers, ‘Catherine and Heathcliffe’ and ‘Maneater’ where Ines asks you over for ‘a nice Chianti and some fava beans’ before laughing manically, gulp! ‘Void’ and ‘The Mercury Lamp’ sound like Carol King gone metal; they really know how to write dramatic chord changes. Finally it ends with the rousing title song ‘Euphorialight’. Given the right push EOS could be massive; this is a mightily impressive debut that thanks to its commercial international sound, and the balance between melody and power, will appeal to all key markets and a broad church of metal and rock fans. Available at a range of musical stores, their Myspace can be found at www.myspace.com/embassyofsilence. I’ll award it a highly recommended 9/10 (Reviewed by Phil)

EMBASSY OF SILENCE...'ANTLER VELVET'

(Ravenheart Music) Reviewed 11th June 2012

Finland's Embassy of Silence were founded in 2007 by vivacious vocalist Ines Lukkanen and guitarist and composer Tero Kalliomäki, releasing their outstanding debut album 'Euphorialight’ in 2010 to much critical acclaim, including my very own. On this new one they have introduced more groove and consistency into their signature sound that lies somewhere between Delain, Lacuna Coil and Angtoria. And what a signature sound it is, a spine tingling wall of melodious sound that wraps around your ears in a warm embrace, with Ines's wonderful rich vibrant voice flying above. What could have easily ended up a mush is kept crystal clear by the peerless production by Jarno Hänninen and Tero, and there's a subtlety and dynamism to their sound, they don't try to batter you into submission, more sweep you away on a tidal wave of guitars and symphonics, rising to a crescendo of soaring choruses. They lay down the gauntlet with the immense 'Trickster Queen', then the lead single 'Unconverted' with it's terrific chorus, and the superb 'The Gemini Ascendant'. The swaggering 'Auryn Virus' really shows that groove, followed by the towering 'Conundrum'. The next two see them depart into more the melodic prog waters, the swinging 'Minotaur' and the incredible symphonic mini epic 'Harbour of Naryon, featuring Ilpo Paasela from The Chant on lead vocals who has one of those wonderful deep gothic voices. Three more top tunes complete the collection, the dynamic 'Through Unknown Gateways', Prodigal Son with it's hint of James Bond, and the spiraling 'Touch the Zenith'. I must mention Ines's outstanding and very poetic lyrics, some take you are a trip inside the human mind, others are about inspiring stories, and the whole album has the theme of reinventing and reinvigorating oneself. Embassy of Silence have produced a mightily impressive collection with a rich blend of power, subtlety and melody that blurs genre boundaries, appealing to a diverse range of rock and metal fans from all corners of the globe. You will find their consulate Here, a spine tingling 9.5/10 (Phil)

EMBASSY OF SILENCE...'VERISIMILITUDE'

(Self Released) Reviewed 12th September 2015

Embassy of Silence come from Finland and that in itself tells us that there is a good chance of an awesome package of music here, and yep, an awesome package of music we have! There are eight numbers on this cd of what can best be detailed as Progressive Rock/Metal, with a poppy vocal style from leading lady Ines Lukkanen. This is rather good I myself have to say, and we have the trademark Embassy of Silence sound, which is certainly there within the catchy choruses. Rather good me thinks, with a fave track of mine being the closing epic, the 7 minute plus 'Dear Mr Steele'. Embassy of Silence sure did turn it on with their previous 2 albums and this continues the consistent output from this Finnish band. Their website is here - so don't hang around, go get it! And dare I pronounce the title? Nope, I have had a bit to drink LOL…9/10 (The Nugget)

EMBERSLAND...'DARK AGES'

(Self Release) Reviewed 1st April 2015

Embersland is a six piece Melodic Metal band from Barcelona with male (harsh and clean) and female vocals, and this the band's second album is yet another good recording to come the way of Ravenheart Music. The vocal duties are shared between May, Will and Xavi and this 9 track album offers up quite a variety for the listener to enjoy. I must say that I myself enjoyed this album, with the epic 9+ minute opener 'Sunrise (Part II) being one of my favourite numbers, 'Sunrise (Part I)' by the way being the closing track on their debut release 'Sunrise'. 'Second up 'Closer' is a powerful but punchy tune and sets the scene for what is to follow. The Symphonic 'WTF...Fuck Off' is not a disgruntled overpaid Chelsea soccer player (sorry Chelsea fans) talking to a referee, but is an interestingly titled track and a good one too, and being a tough N London girl, offers up solid proof that this band talk my language :) Other highlights are a plenty including the slower and rather more atmospheric 'Where Are You', the ballad 'Deadweight' and the wonderful 'Be There For Me'. It is my pleasure to review music this good - the band's website is here.. 9/10 (The Nugget)

EMBRACING SOUL...'LUNA' EP

(Illusive Records) Reviewed 17th July 2012

Female fronted rock band Embracing Soul from Canada has recently released their newest EP entitled ‘Luna’, to promote their music online. Embracing Soul’s musical style incorporates aspects of Gothic Rock/Metal, with hints of Melodic Death Metal and Progressive Metal thrown into the mix for good measure. Formed in 2009 the band began their life as a two piece recording duo - Chelsea Pisano (lead vox) and Brandon Iajecznyk (guitar and harsh vocals). After one LP released in 2010, the band now present us with this EP. And this is good, very good in-fact. Comparisons vocally can be made to Amy Lee, more so on opener 'The Raven', although other influences spring to light on other numbers on this cd including Trivium and indeed Opeth (reference the male vocals). Progressive influences shine through on certain tracks, the title track as one example, while 'Apollo' starts slow, with Chelsea's vocals dominating, before the number becomes a thumping rocker featuring some awesome musicianship. The closing track which so happens to be an orchestrated version of opening track 'The Raven', is totally cool! The band has released the EP on their own label and has set the album up for digital distribution via Bandcamp. The download comes in a file of your choice, along with the artwork and lyrics. All funds from the independent project go directly towards paying for the band’s upcoming expenses. So please support independent music, pop to their BandCamp and consider a purchase ...8.75/10 (Dave)

EMBRACING SOUL...'MAKE ME BELIEVE' EP

(Illusive Records) Reviewed 21st September 2015

Formed in 2009 by Chelsea Pisano and Brandon Iajecznyk, Embracing Soul has developed a Gothic/Rock/Metal sound unlike any other in Canada. They developed their debut LP 'Shadow' for release in early 2010, followed by EP 'Luna' in 2012, single release of 'Soteria's End' in 2014, and continue to expand their sound with this their latest 5 track EP. Indeed, this latest effort from the band encompasses the heavy riffs, the angelic vocals coupled with deathly growls, and the subtle progressive elements that were a familiar sound on their previous efforts. A previous review of their EP ‘Luna’ done by Dave suggested that vocally Chelsea sounded like Amy Lee (Evanescence). Those comparisons can still be made, this is what Evanescence may sound like if they took a heavier more metallic route. Generally though, this is a half decent release that should appeal to Evanescence fans and female fronted nut cases in general. The band’s website can be found at www.embracingsoul.com/Home.html… 8.25/10 (The Nugget)

EMERA…’LEAP OF FAITH’

(Self Release) Reviewed 29th July 2015

The recent review that was done of Emera’s album ‘Leap Of Faith’ seems to have disappeared into cyberspace along with a couple of others, so here is a quickie. Emera hail from France and offer the listener 10 tracks of rather good Melodic Metal, with rather sweet female vocals. I would say that this is rather good , it being the band’s debut that was released towards the end of 2014. If you like your metal with a bit of ooommppphhh together with loadsa of melody, this is certainly worth checking out... 8.75/10 (The Nugget)

EMERALD MIND..'TALES OF SOVEENA'

(Self Release) Reviewed 3rd March 2010

The ravishing Russian beauty Svetlana Vysotskaya fronts this young power prog metal band from St. Petersburg. This has got to be some of the best operatic singing I have ever heard on a metal album, or indeed any album, Svetlana really is a match for Tarja, Simone Simons and Katherine Jenkins, she is pitch perfect and her diction is precise and crystal clear. The songs, with lyrics based on various real stories and folk tales, thunder along like the Flying Dutchman on a storm tossed sea, but they are at their best when they calm and just let Svetlana shine, like on their finest number, the duet ‘Sweet Poison’. If they can turn and tone the guitars down and up the symphonic keyboards, to provide a rich luxurious backdrop, and concentrate on creating songs that simply showcase the band’s greatest asset, Svetlana’s voice, then they could have a massive future. Fans of Nightwish, Therion and power metal can download this for free or buy the CD from their http://www.emeraldmindband.com/en/merch .com/en/merch and just listen to that voice, yep just listen to that voice, amazing. 8.5/10 (Reviewed by Phil)

EMERALD MIND…’CIVILISATION’

(Self Release) Reviewed 2nd September 2015

Originally called Diadema (they changed their name in 2008), Emerald Mind come from Russia and this is the band’s second album of Power/Progressive metal featuring the beautiful operatic vocals of Svetlana Vysotskaya (The Rimsky-Korsakov St. Petersburg State Conservatory). The album contains Emerald Mind’s thoughts about nature and Mother Earth and about their role in life. It contains the band's experiences about growing up and the loss of magic that surrounds us all. There are nine tracks contained within this awesome musical package, it is melodic, it is tuneful and those vocals of Svetlana are a joy to the ears. A brief review but this is sure worth checking out for fans of female fronted Symphonic Metal. It has just been released so check it out at CDbaby and have a listen on Spotify too… 9/10 (Dave)

EMINA..'TAKE#1'

(66 Records) Reviewed 9th January 2012

Emina hails from Austria and is a band full of passion and enthusiasm, fronted by an attractive lass with a love of all things hard rock, who shares the name of her band. This cd features 11 tracks of music that can best be described as rock with a 70/80's attitude. The album kicks off with the number 'Speeding On A Highway', that briefly reminds me of what the UK band Magnum may sound like with a female singer (sorry Bob!). 'Long Lost Trace' has a bluesy vibe, but the sound is kept alive by some awesome guitar work. 'I Am The Future' showcases extremely well the powerful nature of Emina's vocals, while the heart wrenching ballad 'Don't Need Word's' pulls at the heart strings. And as I have said more than once before, I am a sucker for the odd power ballad. The middle portion of the album does in-fact slow down the pace somewhat, but this girl can sure cut it with the ballads most certainly...great stuff! To summarise, what we have here is an energetic sound with powerful awesome vocals, combined with a raw soul ripping sound offering up cutting edge rock and emotional ballads. This also makes a change from all the Gothic Symphonic stuff that is floating around at the moment. I continue to be amazed at all the good music that is out there, so if 43 minutes of female fronted hard rock floats your boat, then check this out by clicking here, and then think about getting this album. It is currently available digitally via iTunes etc, but it is scheduled to pick up a physical release in March! 8.75/10 (Dave)

ENCHANTYA...'DARK RISING'

(Massacre Records) Reviewed 3rd September 2012

Here is something to grab your attention folks. In the Summer of 2005, Portugese Metal merchants EnChanTya recorded their first demo: 'Moonlighting the Dreamer', released in 2006. The sound of the band was labelled and put in line with starlet bands like Nightwish and Within Temptation, amongst others. It may have taken 7 years, but Massacre Records have signed the band and now proudly announce the band's debut full length recording, that will be released at the end of September. 'Dark Rising' can quite easily be placed into the Gothic Metal territory, rather good it is too, plus you get your monies worth with 13 tracks and a good hours worth of stomping heavy music. The album features predominately operatic vocals courtesy of Rute Fevereiro, with some occasional growls from the young lady too, so she is very versatile in the vocals department. After a brief instrumental opener that includes air raid sirens, you get your fair share of pounding Gothic Metal including 'No Stars In The Sky', 'Clad In Black', 'Longing For You', 'Fear Me When You Fall' and Of course, there is the obligatory ballad, 'Winter Dreams' and as I have said many times before, I am a real sucker for a good ballad!! The album at times tends to remind me of Russian Metal girls Blackthorn, and will be well worth checking out when it gets released on the 28th September. This is classic Gothic Metal that offers a real punch in the process! Super stuff!! 8.75/10 (Dave)

END OF SEPTEMBER..'END OF SEPTEMBER'

(Ulterium Records) Reviewed 27th March 2012

This Swedish band were founded by Erik Tordsson in 2009 but the departure of the singer led to a 2 yr hiatus until he met Elin Redin in 2011 which enabled him to start on this debut album. Their sound is a blend of Heart of Everything era Within Temptation, Delain, and Evanescence gothic and alternative metal, based around Erik's muscular guitar, decorated with tinkling keys, laid on a bed of subtle symphonics, and topped with Elin's excellent emotional vocals which are inspired by the likes of modern Sharon Den Adel and Amy Lee. The songs swirl from expressive verses to full throttle soaring choruses to mighty riffing, underpinned by Eriks powerful top draw production, and supported by the technically gifted rhythm section of the two Johans. Erik also supplies some good clean vocals and the occasional growl on a number of tracks. When you click play, Erik's guitar explodes out of the speakers, which gave me quite a jump, showing that are not going to mess about as they launch into nine ripping songs that really rattle along at a cracking pace, faves include the dynamic opener 'Isolated', the duet 'Left In This World', 'Waiting For The rain' with its catchy chorus, and their signature song 'Autumn Breaks'. This last last track typifies their lyrics, based on the melancholy and symbolic change of summer into winter, rarely has a band name been so appropriate. The songs could perhaps do with a little more variation, they are somewhat similar, or something different in the middle like a ballad, but you cannot argue with overall consistent quality. A solid, expressive and very professional opening album for fans of this most commercial of genres, their website is here, an autumnal 8.75/10 (Phil)

END OF THE DREAM...EP

(Self Released) Reviewed 14th January 2014

Here we have an interesting band from Holland fronted by Micky Huiijsmans called End Of The Dream. And to be quite frank, although this has been all done before, this is right up my alleyway and I am enjoying the tracks here on this EP. Although the EP actually has four tracks, I have the honour to be listening to five numbers that Pieter, their Belgian drummer has sent me, the additional song being a new one called 'All I am'. The EP itself however kicks off with 'Colder', that has Evanescence influences that shine through the sheen that this number offers, a great way to kick of the record. And it continues with 'Follow The Angels' that maintains the momentum and adds into the mix symphonic elements. 'Through The Dark' lowers the tempo slightly, while closer 'Shadow's Embrace' is a 7+ minute bombastic symphonic progressive epic with great vocals and melodies - awesome stuff! The aforementioned additional track 'All I Am' just confirms the class this band is showing. What we have here is top drawer melodies wrapped in a casing of Symphonic Metallic bliss. Check them out at www.endofthedreammusic.com/ and support top class independent music...9/10 (Dave)

END OF THE DREAM...'ALL I AM'

(Self Released) Reviewed 23rd April 2015

Back in January in 2014, I reviewed a 4 track promo EP that was sent to me by Dutch band End Of The Dream. The EP was rather good and now, in 2015, I have the pleasure to review the band's debut full length effort. Anything from Holland grabs my attention and no doubt the attention of many others too, and this band fronted by Micky Huiijsmans is of no exception. It all kicks off with the awesome and melodic 'Follow The Angels', a 6 minute epic that featured on the EP, and this number grabs you by the short and curlies and immediately gives the listener an idea as to what to expect on this release. Next up 'Away' is equally as good, great mid tempo chorus and superb vocals! 'Colder' exibits Evanescence influences, while the epic and bombastic 7 + minute 'Shadows Embrace', maintains the awesome momentum that this EP gives the listener. 'Collide' is a slower and an emotionally charged number, vocally Micky sounding a little like Amy Lee, which is not a bad thing at all, while 'All I Am' the title track with its catchy chorus, is another great tune with an acoustic undercurrent. The last three numbers do not disappoint, 'Through The Dark', the 9 + minute epic 'Dark Reflection' with its progressive tendancies and closer the ballad 'Gone', all continue to show the awesome promise this band shows with this release. In summary, this album is going to appeal to a wide range of fans whether they support female fronted rock/metal music or not. There are Evanescence influences appearing at times throughout the album, not surprising really bearing in mind that Evanescence did release a track called 'End Of The Dream', but these influences are not a bad thing and I like it. The band's website is here ... well recommended.. 9.25/10 (Dave)

ENEMY OF REALITY...'REJECTED GODS'

(FYB Records) Reviewed 31st July 2014

And yet another awesome cd steamrollers its way into Ravenheart Towers. Enemy of Reality come from Greece, another nation emerging onto the scene - 'REJECTED GODS' being the band's debut album and it features 10 mind-blowing bombastic tracks of Symphonic Metal, with a few Progressive influences thrown into the mix. I keep hearing that the Symphonic Metal scene is becoming over crowded with bands, but to be honest, when it is this good, I don't give a damn. The record consists of powerful modern riffs and melodic progressive solos that raise the listener’s interest without becoming too boring. The chorus parts are quite intense and the operatic vocals are powerful and emotional at the same time. And with guest performances from the likes of Ailyn Giménez (Sirenia), Mike LePond (Symphony X), Androniki Skoula (Chaostar) and Maxi Nil (Jaded Star, ex-Visions of Atlantis), you know this is going to be something a little special. The album includes a 4-track sequence, based on the Greek myth of Orpheus & Eurydice. However, in this version the story is narrated by one of the Maenads (female followers of Dionysus) who tells a story of love and tragedy, while at the end of the myth it turns out that she was among the women that killed Orpheus, as they ripped him apart with their own hands. In more detail, sixth track in, ‘Her Descending Ghost’ begins the story with the tragic death of Eurydice by snakebite, shortly after her wedding. ’The Bargaining’ is about the descent of Orpheus to the Underworld, where he faces Hades in an attempt to claim back his wife’s soul. On ‘Grief Divine’ Orpheus starts ascending back to Earth with Eurydice quietly following him, while in a moment of mistrust and agony he ignores the only warning of Hades that was not to look back at her before they have both reached the surface. Finally, on ‘Torn Apart’ Orpheus returns to Earth alone, where he mourns the loss of his wife for a second time. At that time, he gets surrounded by the Maenads who, out of jealousy and anger, tear him apart limb from limb and throw his head and lyre in the river Evros. Nothing here to fault, with highlights galore, although I do particularly like the catchy and commercial sounding 'Lifeless Eyes'. Their Facebook is here, this record is damn good and another awesome addition to the music fan's cd collection... 8.75/10 (Dave)

ENK ELINATION..S/T EP

(Self Released) Reviewed 31st December 2012

Enkelination (enkeli - meaning Angel in finnish) was formed in November 2011. Founded by Finnish classically trained former opera singer Elina Siirala, she moved to London in 2008 and fell in love with the power and performance of rock and metal. Now she is using her classical roots to help create her own mark in the world of alternative music. She’s a talented and powerful singer/composer creating Melodic Hard Rock from a multitude of influences. Surrounded by heavy guitar sounds and metal drums, Elina's angelic voice cuts through the darkness with an ethereal quality. 'Never Ending' kicks this three track EP off, a melodic guitar orientated track that showcases very well Elina's operatic vocal style, without the musical symphonics if that makes sense. 'Higher Ground' and the catchy 'Insane' follow a similar melodic route, with the vocals of Elina lifting this EP onto a higher level. To summarise, we have the operatic (but not overly done) vocal style of Elina, mixing it with a melodic guitar orientated performance. This is a band that is going to have to be watched in 2013, and I am certainly interested to hear more. For the time being, check their Facebook out, as this is good! 8.75/10 (Dave)

ENK ELINATION...'TEARS OF LUST'

(Self Release) Reviewed 7th July 2014

Enk Elination (enkeli - meaning Angel in Finnish) is a British band fronted by a Finnish lass Elina Siirala, who is herself a former opera singer. She moved to London in 2008 and fell in love with the power and performance of rock and metal. In 2012 she started working with a guitar player Shadow Venger, who’s previous band Empyreal Destroyer was voted as the best unsigned band of 2007. Having myself been familiar with Enk Elination for a while now, all I will say is they are damn good, this cd is well worth the money and I am even reviewing this while taking some time out from Ravenheart and relaxing. The music is I suppose you would call a toned down Symphonic Metal style, with the angelic and perfect vocals of Elina nailing it to a tee. I could hear this girl on the West End stage. To be honest, all the tracks here are above par, not a duff one to be found. I cannot really fault this release, so check out their Facebook here and go make what will be a worthy purchase... 9/10 (Dave)

ENORIA..S/T

(Self Release) Reviewed 11th April 2010

Enoria were formed in 2003 out of the ashes of the band Soulless by Fabrice (composer/drummer), Christophe (guitar/engineer) and Sylvain (keys/manager). They were joined by guitarist Pascal (guitar/artwork) and recorded a demo in 2005. Unhappy with the results and the then singer, they went into hibernation while Christophe built his own studio. Then they finally found the singer they were looking for in Marie and work started on this debut album. The results are atmospheric gothic metal in a similar vein to bands like The Gathering. Marie has a pure semi operatic voice (with occasional full operatics) that provides the perfect compliment to the music. I found similarities to bands like The Smiths where the melancholic vocals float and soar over the backdrop of guitar lines (not the normal chord riffage), but here you have the addition of Sylvain’s ethereal keys to ramp up the atmosphere. The music is mesmerising, deep and almost hypnotic, but always very melodic, and superbly produced and performed as you would expect by such experienced musos. Marie is joined at times by Fabrice’s bass voice, which shows you can be deep and menacing without resorting to growling. The quality is maintained throughout this collection of 12 songs (plus an outro); highlights include the dreamy ‘Spiral of Life’, the eerie ‘The Sentinel’, the dramatic ‘Between Two Worlds, the otherworldly ‘Eternal Sleep’, and the ominous ‘Ultimate Solution’. If you like your music melancholic, melodic, and mesmeric then this is a wonderful listen and can be easily purchased from CD Baby, for more info they can be found on their Myspace site, www.myspace.com/enoriaband. 8.5/10 (Reviewed by Phil)

ENVINYA...'INNER SILENCE'

(Massacre Records) Reviewed 31st December 2012

The band ENVINYA fronted by Natalie Pereira dos Santos (she has however now just left the band), was established in 2006. The music of the six-piece from Bavaria is as magic and stunning and makes it hard to put the band into a category. Their sound is dark, heavy yet melodic and covers various musical influences and the characters every band member. It was this diversity who developed the slogan “more than metal” which describes the band’s’ sound pretty well. There are ten tracks on this record covering 46 minutes, which kinda flirts between Melodic and Power Metal. We have the addition of occasional male vocals compliments of Thomas Knauer who also plays rhythm guitar, while Natalie's vocals are more from the school of rock rather than the operatic that we have come to expect from some female fronted bands. 'Faceless' kicks things off with synths giving way to heavy crunching guitars, this number giving more of a Power Metally start to proceedings. Second up 'Forlorn' is another upbeat melodic thumper and that is the way the album continues. Listen to numbers like 'Inner Silence', 'In My Hands' the awesome 'Mirror Soul' and 'Too Late', and you will then know why you got into this style of music in the first place! For fans of Female Fronted Metal with loadsa catchy melodies, here is their Facebook to get a taster for yourselves, this being another release to get your teeth into at the start of 2013. It gets released 25th January - great stuff... 8.5/10 (Dave)

ENYA…’DARK SKY ISLAND’

(Aigle Music - Warner Music) Reviewed 5th December 2015

Enya’s eighth album was inspired by Sark: the tiny island just 80 miles off the South Coast of England, where cars are banned and a total lack of public street lighting make conditions perfect for stargazing. Let’s face it, there is one star we know as Enya, who would not be Enya without there being an Enya, right? Okay, I like my Rock and Metal music, but I also like Enya. Her music is so haunting and atmospheric, it is total beauty in a frikin’ troubled world! Dark Sky Island was seven years in the making, but this 54 year old singer/songwriter is still on top form, and she is not about to drop off our radar screens just yet. Tell you what, this is only a brief review as I am speechless at what I am listening too. Eleven tracks of sheer awesomeness, enough said. Get her album, put it on, forget about life’s troubles and chill, as life’s too short! Well worth it!! 9.5/10 (Dave)

EOWYN..'SILENT SCREAMS'

(Independent Release) Reviewed 14th April 2008

Eowyn is a Nashville recording artist with an industrial rock/metal sound, and a theatrical stage presence that will leave you utterly captivated with emotional intrigue. “Silent Screams” is a Christian Rock album, and was produced by Travis Wyrick (P.O.D., Pillar, Disciple). With a style that is filled with industrial rock sound, inspiring vocal imaging and a powerful, dramatic presence, this album is set to make a dominant stand in the market place. I for one am having trouble finding fault with this cd. Imagine Evanescence mixed with Plumb, then add in a dose of heaviness, then may be we are nearly there! Too many genuine rock and metal fans get put off when the word Christian gets mentioned in a review. "Silent Screams" is an awesome cd, and I think one of the best in this genre that I and many others will hear this year. BUY! 9.5/10 (Reviewed by Dave).

EOWYN..'BEAUTIFUL ASHES'

(Self Release) Reviewed 29th March 2011

This is the fourth album by the lovely Nashville musician who is a big fave here at The Towers. If the word Nashville brings you out in a cold sweat with thoughts of Stetsons and cowboy boots, don't panic, Éowyn's music lies somewhere between Evanescence and Lacuna Coil, with added modern Gary Numan industrial (mind you, I wear a black Stetson, and anyone who has been to my Facebook will know I like my hats). She has a humongous soaring voice with a distinctive tremor that suits her massive anthems perfectly, and she gives it plenty of oomph and expression without having to resort to wailing and shrieking like so many alternative metal/rock singers. Although devoutly Christian, she is not as overt as say HB, and as I've said before, there is no reason why Christian artists should be pigeon-holed, it should not be an issue. And before you ask, she is nothing to do with Mr. Tolkien. The songs are packed with huge choruses, booming synths, rich strings, intriguing samples, twinkling bubbling electronica, crunchy guitars, banging beats and throbbing base creating a massive awesome sound courtesy of producer Travis Wyrick. She opens with a brace of dramatic expressive songs with soaring refrains, 'You Had To' and title song 'Beautiful Ashes'. Éowyn had to give up full time music in 2008 due to financial difficulties, years of hard work burnt to ashes, but after having a terrible time she began to rebuild her life and career, rediscovering the beauty amongst the ashes, and thanks to the backing of 180 fans, who raised $20,000, she was able to produce this new album. After the moody melodramatic 'More Than Yesterday' comes a couple of songs, 'Fail-Safe' and 'Dream', that almost head towards anthemic Within Temptation esque symphonic with loads of ingenious orchestral sounds. The second half alternates between tremendous driving groovers with a touch of Muse, 'Cliché’ and ‘Alive', and expressive soaring songs, 'Burning Pages’ and 'All I Need' that sweep from a whisper to a roar, and she closes with the curious curio 'The Music Box'. Not only is this is terrific stuff that all gothic and alternative metal fans will be burning to get their hands on, but given the right exposure it will also go down a storm with the mainstream. Her website lies here, a Ravenheart recommended 9/10 (Phil)

EPHEMERIS.. 'EVOLUZIONI'

(Blackfading Records) Reviewed 13th October 2009

This CD has come out of the blue, from a band I had never heard of before; it just shows what good music there is out there. They are not to be confused with an American band of the same name; this Ephemeris comes from Bologna, Italy. They started about 2003, but it was only when they met Italian musician Cristiano Santini that they had the opportunity to record this, their debut album. The band is made up of Sara on vocals, who has a lovely voice, plus guitar, bass, drums, piano and violin. This is a very diverse album, with elements of semi acoustic Within Temptation, Renaissance, Mostly Autumn, Fairground Attraction and the Corrs. It starts with the gothic rock of ‘Angelo’, then ‘Dipinta di Sole’, which starts with a swing before going through numerous shades and moods. The syncopation of ‘Creatures’ is followed by the driving rock of ‘Burattini’. ‘Madreluna’ is a swing waltz with delightful piano that gradually builds. The acoustic guitar and piano ‘Libera da me’ comes before the Corrs like, and all too brief, ‘Angelo II’. They pick it up again with the rockier ‘Your Glance’, then the folk rock of ‘Puff’ that builds into something rather heavier. The brief atmospherics of ‘O Filii et Filae’ is followed by the title track, the organ fuelled ‘Evoluzioni’. The only criticism is that some songs, like ‘Evoluzioni’ and ‘Angelo II’ deserve to be longer. The changes in pace and tone makes this a truly delightful listening experience, but it still has a consistency in sound and style that unifies all the songs. It is highly recommended for fans of the lighter side of gothic rock, but still like some oomph. It is available from their shop on their Myspace site, www.myspace.com/ephemerisrock 8.5/10 (Reviewed by Phil)

EPHYRA...'ALONG THE PATH'

(Bakerteam Records) Reviewed 4th October 2015

Ephyra is an Italian Melodic Death Metal band with Epic and Folk influences, and with a bright future ahead to boot. The band debuted in 2013 with the album 'Journey', an exciting venture in every sense of the word, musically and on a personal level, with songs that ranged from epic, grandiose atmospheres to dark and introspective passages. The band’s musical style meanwhile, has evolved into a modern mix of Death Metal guitar riffs and rhythmic section, growl/scream male vocals, clean female vocals and folk/symphonic/ethnic influences. The lyrical concept links every song to the same story: a warrior needs to find his way in life, constantly matching his own fate. The setting alternates a fantastic background (with battles, wild landscapes and glorious hymns) and dreamlike atmospheres. And all this is well showcased within the eleven tracks on this album, which is immediately brought to the fore on second track 'Human Chaos', the opener ‘Melancholy Rise‘ being an instrumental to ease you gently into the fray. Folk influences are there on the third track 'All At Once', together with its catchy chorus. And it continues in a very similar style with numbers like fourth track in 'Cruel Day', the brooding acoustic ‘Hope’ and the tuneful ‘Land’s Calling’. ‘Along The Path’ is a bouncy offering featuring special guest appearances by Mattia Stancioiu, Davide Cicalese (Furor Gallico,), Silvia Bonino (Folkstone) and Lisy Stefanoni (Evenoire - Flute), so if you like growly vocals coupled with clean female vox, and then add into the mix a recipe of Folk/Metal, then this should be right up your alleyway. It all is rather good - released 20th November... 8.75/10 (Dave)

EPIC…’LIKE A PHOENIX’

(Self Release) Reviewed 11th January 2016

While writing this review, I am totally devastated at the news of the death of David Bowie, this being a very sad loss to the music industry and to the world as a whole. From my mid teenage years onwards, I was in love with the music produced by this guy! Anyway, onto the job in hand, Canadian band Epic is composed of songwriter Tanya Rizkala on vocals, composer Mario Agostine on Guitars, Souheil "Sous" Moukaddem on drums, and Mike Ganime on bass. This power quartet is drawing on years of experience and musicianship and playing in international venues and large arenas alongside some of the legends of rock. They are well-known for their hard-driving energy and Mario's melodic guitar-driven grooves, which along with Tanya's powerful vocal range, and a "rock-solid" rhythm section with "Sous" on drums and Mike on Bass, thrills rock-loving audiences. This die-hard rock formation wasted no time getting to work as soon as they met, writing, composing, and recording this their debut album. The album is basically a mix of Melodic Hard Rock, AOR and ballads, which would have fans of this style of music into fits of ecstasy, as if the late 70s and 80s and not gone away. Some awesome music on this record with the opening trio of ‘Love Will Find Away’, ‘Like A Phoenix’ and the ballad ‘I Can Take You’ setting the scene rather nicely for what is to come. Overall this album is catchy radio friendly rock music…buy! 8.75/10 (Dave)

EPICA..'THE DIVINE CONSPIRACY'

(Nuclear Blast) Reviewed 19th Sept 2007

Epica have produced 75+ minutes of epic metal blending darkness, light and power. Enough power in-fact to light the streets of London!! I myself am not a lover of death metal vocals, but somehow, they fit in very well on this album, coupled with the angelic vocals of Simone Simons. Instrumental 'Indigo' leads us into the menacing duo of 'The Obsessive Devotion' and 'The Menace of Vanity'. Death metal vocals, angelic vocals, crunching guitars, power drumming, choirs, orchestration, and we are only up to track 3!. 'Chasing The Dragon' is sheer beauty, while 'Never Enough' is possibly the most commercial track on the album. The middle third of the cd is as heavy, beautiful and as menacing as the first third - just listen to 'Death of a Dream', 'Living a Lie' and 'Fools of Damnation' for confirmation of that. And continuing into the final third, there is no let up, with 'Beyond Belief' and 'Safeguard to Paradise' showcasing Simone's beautiful vocals. The epic near 14 minute title track brings the cd to a close, enabling the listener to re capture their breath. To us here at Ravenheart, a cd is always good when time flies by while listening to it. The 75 minutes soon went by listening to this album. Enough said. We also have to say that this is another superb release from the Nuclear Blast Stable. BUY!! 10/10 (Reviewed by Dave&Aimee).

EPICA..'DESIGN YOUR UNIVERSE'

(Nuclear Blast) Reviewed 17th October 2009

Dutch band Epica sure live up to their name with this release. 14 tracks (inc bonus) and just a few seconds shy of the 80 minute mark, this is Epic Progressive Symphonic Metal Music delivered in a way only Epica know how. Featuring the dual vocals of the lovely Simone Simons and the grunts (although not the best around) of founder member Mark Jansen, 'Design Your Universe' is totally bombastic with huge choirs, operatic vocals, growls, Gregorian chants and goodness knows what else thrown into the mix! And it is flippin' catchy at times as well! To many, the music would be pretty much your standard symphonic female-fronted metal, except a little heavier due to the Death Metal side of the band. But every track here is an epic (that word again) and is certainly one for fans of the genre - think Nightwish mixed with Therion and Leaves' Eyes to name just three, and may be we are getting there. I have heard a little negativity regards this release from various quarters, mainly due I think to the Death Metal influences that are apparent. But when you hear a track like 'Tide Of Time', an awesome piano led ballad. Well myself...I am won over! BUY!! 9/10 (Reviewed by Dave)

EPICA..'REQUIEM FOR THE INDIFFERENT'

(Nuclear Blast) Reviewed 15th March 2012

With Nightwish still seemingly the masters of 'Female Fronted Metal', and with Within Temptation and now Xandria snapping furiously at their heels, we now have another bombastic effort from Dutch maestros Epica, and it sure does pack a punch. The album is making a statement regards religious wars and corrupt governments amongst other matters. And having lived with the cd for a few days now, 'Requiem for the Indifferent' does not have the ferocity and brutality of previous releases, but every track is still heavily orchestrated in typical Epica style. However, founder member Mark Jansen's growls are still there although not as prominent as on 'Design Your Universe', and I feel that Simone Simons has come of age regards her outstanding vocal performance on this record. Okay, she to me has always been outstanding, but here she has shifted on to the next level and sure has nailed it! Just listen to the beautifully orchestrated and totally awesome 6+ minute ballad 'Delirium' to hear what I mean. This surely will be one of the best ballads released this year, with some cool piano from Coen Jansen too. The title tracks offers Middle Eastern Influences, while the heaviest number on the record, 'Stay The Course' sees Mark Jansen in full unstoppable flow, being ably supported by Simone. 'Deep Water Horizon' is another simply enormous and rather powerful ballad, that has Simone sending shivers up my spine!, while 'Deter The Tyrant' almost had me doing a jig - yay! Some people are put off Epica due to the growls, others love the growls. The variety and style of this 14 track 76+ minute album however (I have the edition with bonus track), should really please both sets of people. To summarise, this is a majestic and epic offering, that to me confirms that no band can execute the beauty and the beast style better than Epica, and indeed, this recording may well be the band's best yet. Every band member excels themselves, with I must add some awesome guitar work from Isaac Delahaye. I must whole heartedly recommend this album without a shadow of a doubt... 9.5/10 (Dave)

EPICA...'THE QUANTUM ENIGMA'

(Nuclear Blast) Reviewed 14th May 2014

Epica are back with a bang and have upped the ante yet again with this their latest release!! And Epica as always are totally Symphonic, Heavy, Melodic and Bombastic, mixing their signature heavy riffing to good effect. This album has literally blown my mind apart and is totally amazing, period!! And the choir basically offers up a complete backing vocal package. I am not even sure where to start here - leading lady Simone is on top form, we have the occasional growls from guitarist Mark Jansen and drummer Arien van Weesenbeek, and as for the choral arrangements, I have no words to explain the awesomeness of the choir. Just listen to songs like 'The Essence Of Silence', the pulsating 'Sense Without Sanity-The Impervious Code', the amazing 'Reverence-Living In The Heart' and the catchy 'Omen-The Ghoulish Malady', these being just four massive songs from an album chock full of awesomeness. This is not a huge review for such a huge record, it does not have to be - this is simply Epica's career best, enough said - simply astounding and breathtaking.. 10/10 (Dave)

EQUINOXEM...’NIGHTGENESIS’

(Self Release) Reviewed 29th July 2015

Equinoxem come from Argentina, a country that seems to be making a strong foray into the realms of female fronted Rock&Metal. ‘Nightgenesis’ is the band’s second full length album, and is the second rather good Symphonic Metal album I have had the pleasure of listening too today. We have operatic vocals compliments of Ashe Alder , with male vocals/growls from Matt Tallón. And let us not forget the Mystic Choir: Erika Van De Staaj, Natalia López and Roberto Castiglioni. ‘The Serpent Seal’ opens proceedings and is a mid tempo half decent number to kick things off. Following that, the music throughout the cd is mainly mid tempo and familiar Symphonic stuff and okay, it has all been done and heard before but nonetheless, it is all rather good. However, I did find myself losing interest a bit towards the end of the record, as I felt it was getting a little one dimensional and repetitive... 8/10 (Dave)